Sunday, June 20, 2010


I know these are not the loveliest tomatoes--they have quite a bit of cat-facing. Some of them split, because it decided to rain like crazy right as they were getting ripe. But they are our tomatoes and they taste quite good.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Yard-long beans and sweet corn

The crazy yard-long beans are ready. Last night we ate our first sweet corn, and although it wasn't as big as store corn, it was very sweet. We also got another silverline melon. This has been such a better year for the garden than last year. Last year we got lots of nice squash and huge pumpkins, but this year everything is sweet-tasting--and there are homegrown tomatoes, too! Last night I had to make an emergency tomato salad, because they are piling up already. It's nearly time for tomato sauce.

The little blueish ear of corn is the dwarf Blue Jade corn. I think we were supposed to wait longer to pick it, but it was very tasty anyway.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blackberry Ice Cream

We made blackberry ice cream yesterday and it turned out very nice. It's not so hard to make your own ice cream, particularly if you have an electric ice cream maker--although it kind of takes the fun out of working for the treat.

The recipe was:

2 cups of berries
2 egg yolks
2 cups of cream
1 tablespoon arrowroot flour
1/2 cup of honey

We doubled the recipe and it ended up making about 3 quarts. So far it has seemed to store well and has not turned to a frozen rock in the freezer.

First the berries must be mashed. My recipe said to put them through a food processor, which really mashed them up and made the ice cream a pretty purple color, though if I was to make it again I would either strain out the seeds or just mash by hand with a potato masher.

Then the eggs must be separated. Put the yolks into a mixing bowl and beat them up a bit. I save the whites to make meringues. When I make this again I'll add an extra yolk because I think it would make it turn out a little better.

Then add the cream to the eggs and mix them together well.

Next measure the honey and arrowroot and add it to the bowl, along with the mashed blackberries. The honey flavor did turn out rather strongly. The recipe had called for maple syrup, but we didn't have any, so perhaps it would have been a better choice of sweetener, if you don't like the flavor of honey.

Mix everything very well, pour into an ice cream mixer. I think every mixer is different, but for ours you surround the ice cream with crushed ice and salt.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Sorry, I have to brag about the tomatoes. It's only because last year was such a dismal year for tomatoes, and mine all suffered and died tragically (and I was SO looking forward to tomatoes!).
The little cherries are Snowberries and Matt's Wild Cherry tomatoes. The orange one in front is a Dr. Wyche's orange, the three striped ones are Hillbilly Flame, the one in the back is a Japanese Black Trifele and the pinkish ones are German Strawberries--I think.

Also pictured is a golden-brown Poona Kheera cucumber, three little Richmond Green Apples up above, a yellow Silverline melon (yes, the melons are sweet this year!), and a sweet yellow stuffing pepper in the front.


A neighbor/friend gave us three meat rabbits, including their cages and everything. We couldn't believe our luck with getting them (Thanks Katie!!). So far they just kind of sit around in their cages and eat.

Summer pickles

Here are some pickles I've attempted so far this summer. The top ones are cucumber pickles. First are two pints of dill relish, which I have not tried because they are still fermenting. The large one is dill slices and the small jar on the right is an experiment with sweet pickles. The slices turned out a bit salty. I have not yet had a success with cucumber pickles, for some reason.

The jars below contain watermelon pickles, except lacto-fermented. The thing I thought was a citron was actually a green watermelon, but I sliced it up and pickled it anyway. I'm still sweeping the seeds off the kitchen floor, where they all showered down when I sliced the thing open.

I could find no recipes online for lacto-fermented watermelon-rind style pickles, so I just made it up. Most canned watermelon pickles have watermelon rinds, lemon, cinnamon, cloves, vinegar, sugar and maraschino cherry juice. I adapted the recipe to green watermelon, lemon juice, cinnamon and cloves, rapadura, whey and sea salt. We tasted them yesterday, and they were good.


Here are the blackberries I picked yesterday evening (about 30 minutes worth of picking--there are just so many this year!) with a couple jars of preserves. Today we are attempting blackberry ice cream. We have the eggs and cream for it already.

We butchered a bunch of roosters on Monday. However, Steve is still with us, after being exiled for awhile in the hospital pen while his comb and wing healed (he was attacked by something a while ago--probably a raccoon).

Here he is pictured as he is transfered to the Salatin-style coop full of 20 young Barred Rock pullets. He was happy for the change, to say the least.

He is such a handsome little rooster. His comb is huge and has a very interesting shape. I really love the Silver Spangled Hamburgs, they are just good chickens. All of Steve's babies have also proven to be very clever and vigorous.


Saturday, June 5, 2010


Isla is finally weaned, and 5 1/2 months of age. This is seriously long-termed nursed for baby cows. We had wanted to wean her earlier, only Ethan was out of town every week for a month and she just jumped out of the fences we had up. We finally put up top boards and barbed wire to keep her in. She's a huge calf. This is the look calves give you when they're finally weaned.

So now we have milk again! We've gone without milk for about two months. It's been hard. We actually had to buy milk, despite having a milk cow and milk goat who are both lactating. All my cultures were starving.
Between yesterday and the day before we got four gallons of rich, creamy milk--not the watery stuff Honey was giving before (they know to save the cream for the baby). The cream is in the hind milk, and as you milk it into the pail it has a rich yellowness to it. I think I will make some butter, once we are done guzzling quarts of milk to make up for not having any. I have some Fil Mjolk culturing in a cool place, and kefir on the counter. I will try some yogurt today, if I have time. How beautiful milk is!

Berrying time

Our blackberries are ripe! We've spent most of our free time this week picking and picking. We've gotten two and a half gallons so far. There's jam cooking down on our stove and I'm thinking of trying a blackberry chutney ferment or something. And blackberry mead, of course.

The children and I thought of a nice picking rhyme:

Knick knack, berry black
sharp and curving thorn,
Let us pick and let us pass
And let not our clothes be torn.

How our garden grows

Here is a picture of the garden. I didn't include our bean pole failure, however. It looks weedy, but that's because we're trying a natural farming method where you just ignore the weeds. This is where the melons and cucumbers are growing, propped off the ground by old pallets.

Here is a little homegrown bouquet with the day's harvest. We have cucumbers, Roma beans and squash. Luckily it is a here and there harvest still, just meeting our daily needs with a little leftover for pickling.

Here was from yesterday--rabbit food, baby corn, squash and cucumbers--and a citron. The citrons are taking over the garden. We didn't even plant them, they just showed up. I'm thinking of making some lacto-fermented watermelon rind-style pickles.

These are the Tlacolula pink tomatoes--not pink yet, obviously. The tomatoes are all big and green, and we are just waiting for them to start to ripen.

A red amaranth. I planted it near the cucumbers to give them something to grow on.

The flowers I planted actually grew and bloomed this year! I am so please to see how pretty they make the garden.

Here are Picotee cosmos. I grew them in the winter garden and loved how pretty they are.

This is a "Memories of Mona" cosmos. I really love this color.

Our corn is so tall this year!!!! We are so amazed/ surprised. The tallest sweet corn I've ever grown in Florida was only two feet high, with little ears only an inch long with maybe 2 or 3 kernels per ear. We planted this corn in a spot where the goat shelter used to be. All winter long they sat in their shelter, eating hay and pooping.